The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, is due to get underway in Dubai at the end of this month.
Nearly 40 oil and gas companies sent delegations to last year’s summit which aimed to move the world away from burning fossil fuels like oil and gas.
Ironically, some might say, the UAE appointed Sultan al-Jaber, chairman of the nation’s oil company, as president of this year’s edition of the talks.
Faced with criticism about their presence at negotiations, oil and gas companies claim they are actively taking part in the transition to renewable energies.
News agency, Associated Press (AP), conducted a review of how much these companies invest in green energies, along with the priorities laid out in their annual reports.
It says it doubts that oil and gas companies are genuinely committed to a transition to renewable energies.
“After looking closely at all the oil companies that attended last year’s conference, we came to the conclusion that for the most part, they don’t have large energy transition plans,” says Peter Prengaman, AP’s climate and environment news director.
“Many are token, many are not discussed at all. And some that are discussed in detail really rely on things like hydrogen production, carbon capture, things that are developed but far from scale. So we could argue that these are really not green energy transition projects,” he said.
The bulk of the investments worth billions of dollars, by companies the AP reviewed, are in further exploration, extraction, and refining of oil.
In some case, these plans are over the next decades, long beyond when scientists say the world must move away from fossil fuels.
“These companies plan to keep oil and gas at the centre of their business for the most part. That is who they are. And most don’t plan to fundamentally change what is at the core of their business,” says Mary Katherine Wildeman, AP’s climate and environment data reporter.
And the AP says that, in notes to their investors, some of the companies strike a reassuring tone about the durability of fossil fuels.
Prengaman says that while there is a real push for them to make the transition, and to use their capital and know-how to do that, they get a lot of pushback from shareholders.
“You see that in the rollback of some of the most ambitious plans, because shareholders look at it and say, hey, that means you’re going to make less money over the next 5 years, 10 years, and we’ve got to ramp up production.”
The review also found that most of the companies only have small, if any investment in solar or wind power, the most established green technologies.
Source: Africa News